Attorney General Doug Peterson concluded that federal drug law still preempts state legalization proposals. But State Sen. Anna Wishart, who introduced LB 110 and is co-chair of the medical marijuana petition drive, said Peterson's opinion was based on a flawed interpretation of a Supreme Court ruling.
Most House Republicans opposed the measure — despite President Donald Trump urging them to vote yes. Among the Republicans who voted for it were Nebraska Reps. Don Bacon and Jeff Fortenberry.
Republicans said several amendments were out of line and unduly restricted the commander in chief. “It took a hard left turn with those 400 amendments,” Bacon told The World-Herald.
One bill concerned forming a state commission to push for a "complete count" during the 2020 census. The other would have redefined real property as personal property in an attempt to provide a tax break for military housing.
Rep. Don Bacon said he wrestled with what he views as serious flaws in the measure, but ultimately felt he had to support the Dreamers and temporary protected status recipients. “They’re in no man’s land, and we should provide them some security,” he said. He also said Democrats are fooling themselves if they think the legislation will go anywhere in the Senate absent enhanced border security and bipartisan compromises.
Two key issues were left unfinished, but lawmakers worked together and compromised on other important legislation.
Most Republicans in Congress are eager to move on from the Robert Mueller investigation, but Democrats seized on the special counsel's comments to press for further investigations.
Nebraska lawmakers headed home Friday from a session marked by relatively easy passage of a $9.3 billion state budget but major disappointments over property taxes and business incentives.
The state budget included a 23% increase in the state's property tax credit fund, which boosted the total to $275 million a year. Gov. Pete Ricketts touted the record amount in the fund, but many rural lawmakers had argued for bigger reductions in property taxes.
Some of the bills passed by state lawmakers this year have more direct effects on the lives of average Nebraskans than others.
The governor had vetoed the transit authority measure, calling it a potentially "incredible" property tax increase of up to $17 million for residents of the metropolitan area.
Also Thursday, Gov. Pete Ricketts vetoed a bill that would have created a regional transit entity with new property tax authority in the Omaha metro area.
The ImagiNE Act was the top priority for the state's business community for the 2019 session. But the bill was targeted for defeat by several rural senators after two property tax relief proposals — rural Nebraska's top priority — stalled for the year.
Legislative Bill 657, introduced by Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha, would legalize industrial hemp and its products, including cannabidiol, or CBD, products in the state. It's not clear where the Gov. Pete Ricketts will come down on the bill.
The measure, introduced by State Sen. Joni Albrecht of Thurston, is this year’s top priority for anti-abortion groups. Opponents acknowledged during debate Thursday that the measure would pass in the strongly conservative Legislature.
State Sen. Mark Kolterman said Thursday that he’ll have the 33 votes needed to head off a filibuster and get the bill passed, but rural senators say they're close to having enough votes to block the measure.
The advancement came despite threats by rural senators to block Legislative Bill 720, known as the ImagiNE Act, unless lawmakers also passed a pending bill granting property tax relief.
The bills now head to Gov. Pete Ricketts, who has until Monday to sign or veto them or make line-item vetoes of specific spending items.
Arguing for the amendment, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., noted that the equipment supports the Offutt-based 55th Wing’s fleet of RC-135 reconnaissance jets. “It does electronic surveillance around the world,” he said of the RC-135. “It helps save lives.
The rally was part of a national day of action organized in response to a wave of Republican-controlled states passing strict new restrictions on abortion.
A rarely used "pull" motion passed with the minimum 25 votes Tuesday night, allowing a chance for a floor debate on the controversial issue of physical restraint of disruptive students.
Doug Kagan of Omaha, the longtime head of Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom, said he withdrew his sponsorship of the petition because he disagreed with the management of the effort and didn’t think that it would be successful in qualifying for the 2020 ballot.
Nebraska lawmakers are headed for a donnybrook over state tax policy and a likely showdown with Gov. Pete Ricketts over state spending as the 2019 session enters its last two weeks.
Those opposing the legislation say it violates the First Amendment by impinging on the rights of religious groups.
At issue was a study of nursing homes in the state, to be paid for with a combination of nursing home fines and federal funds. The study had been approved by the Appropriations Committee but was mistakenly left out of the bill on first-round debate.
A trio of measures aimed at countering sex trafficking, helping trafficking victims and fighting online “revenge porn” cleared first-round consideration Thursday in the Nebraska Legislature.